Bocas Del Toro

Travel Guide Central America Panama Bocas Del Toro



Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro

© zedgee

Bocas del Toro is an archipelago and the main place to go in Panama for relaxing on the beach, snorkelling, diving and many other marine activities. It's a popular place amongst travellers.




The archipelago separates Almirante Bay and Chiriquí Lagoon from the open Caribbean Sea. The archipelago is part of the Bocas del Toro District which is part of Bocas del Toro Province. The major city is Bocas del Toro, also called Bocas Town, on Isla Colón.



Events and Festivals

Bocas Del Toro Sea Fair

Held for four days in September every year, the “Feria del Mar” (Sea Fair) in Bocas del Toro is a spectacular event that celebrates the archipelago’s fishing traditions. There is plenty of music and dancing, and also a showcase for traditional handicraft products. The festival is held on Ismito beach near Bocas town.




The weather usually is tropical, with warm and humid weather year round. Daytime temperatures range from around 28 °C in October and November to around 32 °C in March and April. Nights are mostly around 22-23 °C. Although usually December to May is somewhat drier, the differences with the rest of the year are not as pronounced as elsewhere in the country. Heavy rainfall and thunderstorms are possible year round!

Avg Max30.8 °C30.7 °C31 °C31.4 °C31.9 °C32 °C31.5 °C31.8 °C31.9 °C31.7 °C31.6 °C31 °C
Avg Min20.4 °C20.2 °C20.5 °C21.4 °C22.2 °C22.2 °C21.7 °C21.8 °C22 °C22 °C21.8 °C20.6 °C
Rainfall123.9 mm266.1 mm83.8 mm369.1 mm178.3 mm259 mm420.1 mm440.7 mm311.2 mm150.5 mm291.7 mm563.6 mm
Rain Days16.614.614.815.216.717.920.918.415.816.41720



Getting There

By Plane

Bocas del Toro "Isla Colón" International Airport (BOC) offers flights to/from Changuinola, David, and Panama City-Albrook. Air Panama is the local airline. Nature Air has flights to San José, Costa Rica.

By Car

It is actually possible to take your vehicle on the island using a car ferry. The ferry leaves Almirante port every morning at 8:00am Monday to Saturday (no service on Sundays). Cost per car is $15 and there is an extra $1 charge per passenger. The same ferry goes back to the mainland on the same days at 4pm. If you wish to leave your car on the mainland, there is a secure parking available next to where the water taxis leave in Almirante. Cost is $3 per day.

By Bus

From San Jose, Costa Rica:

The bus departs the Coca Cola bus station at 9:00am for Changuinola in Panama. It takes about 7 hours to arrive at the border. From the border you have to go to the control booth on the right hand side before the bridge. From here you have to show your passport and hand in your Panama visa form. Be careful: the border here closes at 5:00pm. Once this is done you walk accross the bridge into Panama to another control booth on the left hand side after the bridge. You must then show your passport, after which, you head next door to again show your passport and you may or may not have to pay for a tourist card (depends on your nationality, USA cost is $5). Once you recieve this card you go back next door where you just were, and then they will stamp your passport. Welcome to Panama. Re-board your bus and head to Changuinola.

By Boat

From the Changuinola bus station take a taxi to the boat (takes aobut 10 minutes, about US$5). Last boat leaves at 5:30pm and takes about 45 minutes to Bocas town. If you miss this boat or you are cutting it close, take a taxi to Almirante instead. The last boat leaves here at 6:30pm and costs US$3. If arriving in Bocas late, it is recommend to make an accomodation reservation prior to arrival.

Day Trip
You can take a boat to the Red Frog Beach (Playa Pristina), go snorkeling and dolphin watching. You should pay no more than US$15 for the whole day and you grab a boat leaving from the docks around 9:00am. Take plenty of water, some snacks, and a few dollars for lunch (be patient because lunch takes a while).



Getting Around

Bocas town is small enough to walk all over. If you need a ride, cabs are plentiful and usually only cost 60 cents or so to get around town.

Bicycle rentals run approximately $2/hr or $10/day. The roads are flat and in good repair, which makes getting around on a bike very easy.

Scooters can be rented for approximately $70/day.




  • El Ultimo Refugio - Offers waterside dining on Avenida Sur, just down the street from the Ferry dock. Cuisine includes fresh seafood as well as variations on Norte Americano style dishes such as pork meatloaf. $35+ for two, including drinks.
  • Om Cafe (Indian food), Avenue E and Calle 2 (upstairs from the surf shop). Breakfast really shines here with the wide variety of juice blends and shakes they offer, plus a very unique eggs vindaloo dish that is a must try. $30 for two, with drinks.
  • La Ballena - Gourmet pizzas and European wines by the glass, which you'll pay dearly for. This may be the most expensive restaurant in all of Bocas town. The pizzas are large with generous toppings, and come in many interesting variations. Wine selection is impressive, though expensive. $40+ for two.
  • Bongo's Cafe (On the main strip) - Popular bar/restaurant run by a charming Cuban woman named Giselle (known around the island simply as "La Cubana") who also happens to be the liaison between the public and the police. The seafood soup (Sopa de Mariscos) served there is simply delicious and Bongo's seems to be the only restaurant that freshly squeezes the fruit right in front of you.




  • Barco Hundido - A disco, built on a wooden deck, above the water with a wrecked/sunken ship under the water just beyond the deck, illuminated by bright lights. Probably one of the better bars in town, and the one that most of the town winds up at by the end of the night.




There are plenty of accomodations in the Bocas but a few recommended ones are as follows:

  • Mondo Taitu - Dorm beds cost $8, it is highly recommended and fills up fast
  • Heike - Same owners as Mondo, and an excellent choice
  • Casa Max on Isla Colon - Accross the street from Mondo it costs a bit more, triple run $36 a night but have a ceiling fan and private bath.

View our map of accommodation in Bocas del Toro



Keep Connected


Internet cafes can be found in cities and most major towns. Wifi is on the rise though with many hotels, restaurants and bars offering this services, especially in the major tourist areas like Panama City, Bocas del Toro and Boquete. Some mountainous or off the beaten track areas might not have any internet services at all.


See also International Telephone Calls

Panama's country code is 507. All cellular numbers start with the number 6 and have 8 digits. Land line phone numbers have 7 digits. 911 is the general emergency phone number.

Calls to the USA and Europe are between 4 and 10 cents a minute. The best way to make international calls from Panama is to buy prepaid telephone cards that are sold at every corner. The most popular is the TeleChip card. If you bring your cellphone, you can choose to buy a local simcard, instead of paying high charges for internet use through your home provider.


Correos y Telegrafos is the national postal company of Panama. It provides a wide range of services though you usually have to use the post offices for both sending and receiving mail and packages, including buying stamps. Post offices can be found in many cities and towns and are open from 6:30am to 5:45pm Monday to Friday and 7:00am to 5:00pm on Saturday. Domestic mail takes several days but to the USA and Europe for example it can take anywhere from 5 to over 10 days depending on the country. For sending larger packages, you might also consider using companies like FedEx, TNT, UPS or DHL, as they offer fast, reliable and competitively priced services as well.


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 9.339449
  • Longitude: -82.24276

Accommodation in Bocas Del Toro

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Bocas Del Toro searchable right here on Travellerspoint.


as well as boreal2673 (10%), adosuarez (3%), Sam I Am (2%)

Bocas Del Toro Travel Helpers

  • Tracy.rod

    I really love Bocas del Toro and been there many times, always travel there from Costa Rica or even Panama, don't miss the boat trips to Cayo Zapatilla or Bastimentos! There are many off the beaten path spots you can also visit around the island. I'll be more than happy to assist!!

    Ask Tracy.rod a question about Bocas Del Toro

This is version 22. Last edited at 13:57 on Aug 9, 17 by Utrecht. 30 articles link to this page.

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